Tuesday, November 17, 2015

DIY Chalk Paint!

So by now I'm sure you've heard of this little thing called 'chalk paint'. Yes, it is everywhere & EVERYONE seems to be using it.  There are a few brands out there with the most well-known being Annie Sloan who actually invented the stuff & made it a household name.  Chalk paint is supposed to be this miraculous paint that can be painted on almost anything...even fabric!  I was skeptical, stubborn & didn't want to conform because I like to march to my own drum. I mean, I had my latex paint obsession, had used that for years & was happy with its results.  Lately though I've been in a creative slump so I decided I would try something I had been resisting, I would TRY chalk paint but only on MY terms & for waaaayyy cheaper than the big brand names out there (because in my mind, that was my way of NOT conforming)!!

Sooo, being a person that has always wanted to figure things out for myself I decided to search out a way to make my own chalk paint.  I found out that I can use latex paint, which I was excited about because I seriously have an obsession with paint & probably own one thousand cans of the crap (this is not an estimation).

I came across a few different SUPER EASY recipes & settled on this one! All of these supplies you literally can pick up at any hardware store.

Chalk Paint Supplies:
Latex paint (seriously, check out the 'oops' section of your local home improvement store)
Plaster of Paris (also purchased at any home improvement store)
Water (I can't help you if you don't know where to find this)
Bowl & spoon for mixing
Measuring cup


Mix the water & plaster of Paris well.

Mix until the clumps are gone.

Add the latex paint color of your choice.

Stir really well.

Mix 1/3 cup plaster of pairs & 1/3 cup of water; stir until completely smooth.  Mix that with 1 cup of latex paint & stir well.

This will make enough paint to cover a large cabinet or a few smaller pieces. If you are doing a small project, mix equal parts water & plaster of Paris in smaller proportions with the appropriate amount of water.  **Side note: I've used different measurements of all ingredients & you really can't mess this up.  You might want to play around with a test piece of wood or cardboard before you commit.  The only other down side about making your own chalk paint is that you cannot store it & reuse it for future use.

Here's what I painted...a super cool old table base!  

The FUN begins!  Start painting your piece!

This is what it looks like when dry.

I only did one coat of paint here because I wanted to distress the piece with a little more of the oak showing through.  You can definitely paint two coats if you'd like.

Next I grabbed some sand paper & started playing around with distressing the imperfections in the table.  Note: if you 'mess up' paint over it, let dry & start again!

This is what I used for distressing (while drinking my coffee)!  

After I sanded & distressed my table base to the point I liked, I took a damp cloth to take off the dust then let that fully dry.

The final step I always use after I paint a piece is 'Minwax Finishing Wax Paste'.  The chalk paint companies have waxes you can use but they too are pretty spendy.  Minwax has a fantastic product with out the price tag!  I have used this for years & love it!

Here's what he finished base looks like!

I had enough chalk paint to do a small side table (shown) and a cute coffee table (not shown).  The top to this table was in really good condition so all I did here was use 'Restor-A-Finish' in a Mahogany color.  If you have never used this product before, you will change your life!!  I followed the directions on the can, then followed up with 'Howard Feed-N-Wax' for protection & hydration.  

I am a changed & apparently 'conformed' human. I like chalk paint. I will MAKE MY OWN chalk paint. I will embrace change. I will save money. I still struggle with conformity.

So have YOU tried making your own chalk paint yet??  I'd love to hear about it & see some pics of your projects!

~ marie 

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

It's Gypsy Night!

We are having a party and YOU are invited!

It's that time of year again, it is our annual Fall party at The Vintage Gypsy!  In her second year of business Marie decided to throw a Fall party, it was a great way to kick off holiday shopping with all of the new Fall clothing and home merchandise.  That first year Marie decided to invite a Tarot Card reader to the party and it was a HUGE success!  We decided that the Fall Party and Tarot card reading should become a yearly event, and now we already in our 4th year!

Sheri is our Tarot card reader and she is one of the nicest people I have ever met!  Her readings are so spot on they always freak me the hell out give me goosebumps!  She was so popular that first year, she ended up staying over an hour past what we had planned!  Every year we end up asking her to stay a little longer, because there never seems to be enough time with Sheri!

The first year we had the party was before the expansion, so we were all squished into those two small rooms!  Do you remember those days?

You will need to come early to sign up for your free ten minute session, because there is ALWAYS a lot of people that want to talk to Sheri!  She will be doing readings from 5-9pm.  While you wait to talk to Sheri there are plenty of other things to do!  There will be treats, beverages and as always, a progressive sale!

So grab a few of your girlfriends and join us this Thursday night, October 29th, from 5-9pm!  Our friends at Wild Ruffle, Urban Halo and W Social Fit will also be open!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Dinner for Dogs!

When we ordered the book Dinner for Dogs I knew that I was going to be taking it home to try out the recipes.  I have a 7 year old dog named Moose who has about 3 teeth left.  Ok, I exaggerate a lot a little, but it is far fewer than most dogs and not nearly enough teeth to be chomping on kibble.  Every time I tried to feed him dry dog food, he sat there looking at me all forlorn, like I was trying to feed him sadness and despair   I tried soaking the kibble in water.... but let's be honest, if you don't want eat kibble in the first place, you aren't going to want it when I make it into kibble soup.  I tried to switching to moist food, but have you ever read the list of ingredients?  Have you ever googled Chicken By Product?   Do you know what is IN THAT STUFF
Things like:

  • Feet
  • Backs
  • Livers
  • Lungs
  • Heads
  • Brains
  • Spleen
  • Frames
  • Kidneys
  • Stomachs
  • Intestines
  • Undeveloped eggs

  • They can also use ingredients like gizzards that have sat unrefrigerated for 24 hours and dead on arrival carasses!  Uhhhhh.... GROSS!   If you want to not eat ever again be fully informed, you can read about it here.  

    So, that is how Moose and I ended up spending an afternoon making him some healthy homemade dog food!  We decided to make Chicken and Rice Balls.  

    We gathered our ingredients:  
    Old fashioned Oatmeal
    Chicken Thighs
    Fresh Herbs

    The first step was to boil the chicken thighs.  (I boiled mine with an onion because I used some of the chicken broth for a soup I was making later, but you don't want to feed onions to your dogs because it can cause anemia.)

    I chopped up three large carrots and three large parsnips, covered them with water and boiled them in another saucepan.

     Once the chicken thighs were cooked, I took them out of the broth and placed them on a plate to shred them.

    I returned 2 cups of broth to the pan, returned it to a boil and added the rice.

    About this time I noticed I had an audience.

    Could you cook faster?

    Next I drained the cooked carrots and parsnips and mashed them.  Then I added the cooked rice, shredded chicken and chopped herbs.

    I mixed it together well and started forming balls.  

    I think they would have held together better if I had mashed the carrots and parsnips more, but you only really need them to hold together well enough to place on the cookie sheet and then you can freeze them.

     I had a very willing test subject, waiting patiently.

    To say that Moose liked them would be a huge understatement!  He devours them!  

    He dogfaced it so fast, it was falling off of the plate.

    This is a dog that believes cats run the world, and will usually leave his food if a cat even walks into the next room.... NOT THIS TIME!

    All gone sucka!
    Bolstered by the smashing success of the Chicken Rice Balls, I decided to try another recipe.  This time we decided to make Morning Oatmeal.

    Old Fashioned Oatmeal
    Handful of Blueberries
    Fresh Herbs

    I cooked the oatmeal, then shredded the apple and added it with the blueberries, flaxseed and herbs.

    It looked and smelled so good!  I dished it up with high hopes.

    Moose was waiting patiently again.

    But this time it was not such a huge success.

    What in the *&$# is THIS?
    The oatmeal was an epic failure.

    Even the cat didn't want it.

    I am not discouraged though!  There are so many other recipes in this book!  There are daily dinners, treats, recovery meals and even special meals for special days!  

    Moose eats two of his rice balls twice a day and a week later he is still happily devouring them.  I take two balls out of the freezer and microwave them for 30 seconds.  The balls would last about 5 days in the refrigerator or about two months in the freezer.

    I dropped off a couple of balls for Ellie the shop dog to try, and I think she approves too!

    On a serious note, I did a lot of reading about the ingredients in the food I have been feeding my dog and my cats and I don't think I will ever be buying a commercial pet food EVER AGAIN!!

    Here are a few of the articles I read:

    Let us know if you try out any of the recipes in this book or if you make your own dog food from a different recipe!  Ellie and Moose are both finicky eaters (which makes sense now that I know they are eating expired grocery store meats and diseased livestock! GAH!) and Marie and I would love to hear what works for you and your pet!!

    Monday, October 5, 2015

    Fall DIYs!

    Fall is FINALLY here!  I LOVE Fall!  The beautiful colors of the changing leaves, the crisp autumn air.... the fact that I can wear BOOTS and LEGGINGS again!  YES!

    Pinterest has been sending me tempting emails with all of these gorgeous Fall decorations so I thought I would finally try a few!  They were all super easy and totally doable, even for a novice crafter!

    Stick Letter
    I picked up my letter at Michael's for $3, they had a variety of different sized and colored letters.  Then my herd of pets and I picked up sticks in the back yard.  You will want to find the straightest sticks possible!  (cats are horrible at finding sticks)

    You'll also need a glue gun, some newspaper and some garden snippers.  I set up shop in my living room so I could watch reality TV while I crafted.

    I started out cutting a bunch of sticks to a similar length, but quickly realized that I would need them at varying lengths, so then I cut the sticks as I went along.  I also doubled up in some places, just to make sure I covered any gaps where you could see the white of the letter.

    This project was not complicated at all, just keep cutting and gluing.  You will want to glue some sticks to the edges of your letters too, this makes it look like you actually made a letter all out of sticks!

    It was FAST too, I was done and cleaned up within an hour!

    Glitter Pumpkins
    My next project was even easier than the first one!  For this project all you need is pumpkins, spray adhesive, glitter and some newspapers.

    I bought my glitter at Michael's, they were $1.50 each.  Even though the containers look small it was more than enough glitter for our pumpkins.

    We started by lining the countertop with newspaper, then I sprayed the tops and upper half of the pumpkin with spray adhesive.

    Then all you have to do is shake the glitter onto your pumpkin.  Our glitter had a top with shaker holes, but if yours doesn't just use a plastic spoon to apply the glitter.

    We sprayed the adhesive several times on spots where we wanted additional glitter.  Carsten made her her glitter go down the sides farther than mine.

    Let your pumpkins dry for a few minutes, then shake off the excess glitter and they are ready for display!

    Pallet Pumpkin
    Marie had a small pallet at the shop the other day, and I grabbed it immediately!  I had pinned the pallet pumpkin weeks ago and wanted to try it.  But, if you don't have a Marie, you can sometimes convince workers at certain home improvement stores to give you small pallets.  You didn't hear that from me!

    First I had a little work to do to the pallet.  I removed the weird little squares and straightened out the bottom board.

    Next I took some Flat White-ish Wall Paint and mixed it with a little water.  I white washed the boards, brushing on a little paint and then wiping it off.

    Next I used a pencil to do a rough outline of a pumpkin.  Then I just dove in and started filling in my pumpkin.

    After I had the pumpkin painted I started mixing my paints to make some different shades of orange and some dark brown colors.  I filled in the stem and painted highlights on the pumpkin to make it look, well..... hopefully more like a pumpkin.

    This was all trial and error.  If you make a mistake, no big deal, just paint over it with the pumpkin color or the whitewash.  I did this several times until I was somewhat satisfied with my pumpkin.  If I am being honest, I actually messaged 3 people to ask if it was a disaster really looked like a pumpkin.

    There you have it, three fun and inexpensive projects!  I spent less than $20 for the supplies for all three projects.  You can find the Pallet Pumpkin available for purchase at The Vintage Gypsy!

    ~ Mel